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The Traps and Pitfalls of Buying a Property Abroad

Dreaming about a beach house in Spain? Country home in France? How about a holiday apartment in an Austrian ski resort? Yes, it’s nice to own a property abroad. Each year, tens of thousands of Britons make their dream a reality. But unfortunately, that reality often turns out to be a nightmare. The many horror stories of purchasers whose overseas property ventures came to a sad end made Britons much more cautious when buying their second home abroad. Despite that, stories of costly legal battles and even demolished holiday homes are still quite common. This is because there is a large number of traps and pitfalls to avoid when buying a property abroad. Much larger than when buying a property in the UK.

When buying property abroad, you are more likely to:

Become a victim of fraud


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Let’s face it. As a foreigner, you are much more likely to become a victim of fraud, no matter if you’re planning to buy a property in Europe, the Americas or elsewhere. Not knowing the language, culture and local laws, further increases the risk of your dream property turning into a house of hell. This risk can be minimised by finding specialist help which, however, brings us to the second major challenge you may encounter when buying a property overseas.

Face difficulties finding trustworthy and knowledgeable specialist help


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To ensure that the property you would like to buy is free of debt and that it has all the necessary permits and consents, you will need specialist help. Likewise, it is highly important for the property to be inspected for architectural defects and other problems, e.g. moisture, leaking roof, wiring issues, etc.  Unfortunately, finding trustworthy and knowledgeable solicitors and surveyors isn’t an easy task, especially in a foreign country.

Need to put in more effort to get a mortgage


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In theory, getting a mortgage is a relatively simple process. At least when it comes to the most popular destinations such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece. But there are also countries where getting a mortgage can be very challenging if you’re a foreigner. And if you manage to get a loan for your dream property, you will highly likely to be charged higher interest rates than the locals.

Be required to pay various extra costs and expenses


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Buying a property always involves a wide range of various fees and charges, no matter if the property is in the UK or abroad. But as soon as you leave the UK, the number of costs and expenses increases dramatically. In addition to being charged higher interests rates if taking out a mortgage, you will probably also have to cover the costs for translation/interpretation, international money transfer fees, cleaning and maintenance costs, fee for making a will, power of attorney fee, etc.  In comparison to the purchase price, these costs may seem low but they can considerably increase the overall cost of your overseas property.


Feature image credit to: liseykina/Shutterstock 


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